Negotiations are continuing at a frantic pace. It is enough of a done deal that teams and tracks have been notified to remove any and all reference to Sprint/Nextel in preparation for the arrival of the new Wal*mart Cup logo. Graphic designers back in the Bentonville, AR home offices are scrambling to come up with just the right catchy logo...to guarantee the fans will immediately recognize and enjoy. Rumor has it that the roll back the prices guy, holding a beer in one hand and a cheesy trophy in the other has the inside track. I wonder if the dangling James Deanesque cigarette will be incorporated as well.
We haven't seen the new championship scoring...but it is no secret that the "Chase" is history. Someone has finally discovered that it is the fans that actually pay for the sport and since they universally hated the artificial championship format....that sucker is gone. In an effort to instill a sense of fair play that NASCAR couldn't seem to grasp, any team penalized for cheating during the course of the season would be ineligible to win the championship. Face it, race fans aren't stupid...and they don't want their champions to be either...if you get caught cheating, you don't deserve to be champion. Also gone is the stupid penalty for a driver displaying a little emotion. Accidentally let slip the F-bomb and you won't be losing points and bucks...the folks in Bentonville only believe in censoring music! Really, think about it...Tony Stewart leads the first 450 laps of the race and is preparing to lap 43rd place Michael Waltrip for the 82nd time....when Michael's immense talent comes to a boil and he turns dead left into Tony in mid-pass...putting them both on the hauler. Do you really want to hear an interview where Tony tell us what a lovely sportsman Michael is, or would you really like to hear what he thinks?
It looks like we will still have to look at the ugly Cars of Tomorrow/Today for at least the immediate future, but expect that come the July race at Daytona...teams will be back in something that looks like a stock car...powered by "stock" motors....if the only engine a consumer can buy in a Toyota is a 4 cylinder...then the only engine in a Toyota on track will be a 4 cylinder. If the biggest V-8 available in the Chevy Malibu is 305 cubic inches...then that is going to be the maximum displacement come race day. One other little kicker will happen while the teams are refueling at the Murphy Oil/Sam's Club gas pumps....each car will be allowed a maximum of 30 gallons of gas for a 500 mile race. Wal*mart is all about green these days and fuel economy standards for the race teams will help reinforce that point.
I hope we have all the details ironed out before the start of speed week!